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robclem21 last won the day on November 5 2018

robclem21 had the most liked content!

About robclem21

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    Toronto, Ontario

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  1. robclem21

    Buy or lease vehicle?

    You also need to consider other things when leasing a car (every little scratch, mileage, the fact that after 3-5 years you have no asset). It is basically "rent" for a car. Granted, the value of a car is almost immediately halved the second you drive it off the lot, there is still some value in it at the end for you. Honda's are great cars and hold their value well, but there are also very reliable brands like Kia or Hyundai that may not hold their value, but will be about 10-15K less up front if you choose to buy it.
  2. Lived alone in a condo during medical school, minimal savings, some minor help from bursaries and scholarships for 4 years (few K/year), no money from family, small income for 1/2 summers, couple small vacations, new laptop. Finished with approx. 180K debt (after using LOC to pay off OSAP). Financial advisor told me average was between 150-200K so I'm not stressing about it.
  3. +1 Guelph Pros: excellent professors who actually care about you, opportunities for medicine relevant courses, fairly reasonable to do well with GPA, few pre-meds = non-competitive/non cutthroat environment, beautiful campus/city, amazing food, lots of opportunity for research, the bullring, wind your toy. Cons: no teaching hospitals so limited ability to gain clinical exposure (which IMO is overrated anyway), not too many resources for premeds (but take some initiative and it doesn't matter).
  4. robclem21

    Reference letter scoring?

    All 3 letters are scored collectively across the four clusters. They are not scored individually. Therefore, if one letter is stronger towards scholar, and another is strong towards advocacy you will be scored accordingly for those two clusters, even if the former doesn't mention advocacy and the latter doesn't mention scholarly work. If none of them mention the other two clusters, you would score poorly on those. The goal is to cover the 4 clusters between the 3 letters. The more an individual letter is able to speak to, the better obviously, because repetition helps us make a more accurate assessment. Now if a volunteer coordinator is speaking to your scholarly work, that would seem kinda weird to me since they don't know you in that capacity. What differentiates a good letter from an excellent letter is solid examples regarding the qualities. If the letter just says, W is a good leader. Then that would score poorly. If it says W is a good leader because they did X, Y, Z to demonstrate this, then that would be a great letter. Additionally, the length of time and capacity they have known you adds to the strength of the letter and makes it carry more weight.
  5. robclem21

    international volunteering

    As part of an essay maybe, but I wouldn't dedicate an ABS entry to this.
  6. Personal anecdote. Went to Guelph Bio-med for 4 years. Loved it. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
  7. Like I said, it's a personal choice and only you can really make a judgment on who would can best talk about your personal qualities and why you would make a good physician. I imagine in the last 5 years you should know more than 2 people in a professional context at a personal level who can speak to you. Have you volunteered anywhere else, have you held a job where you worked closely with your supervisor, have you done any other research or belonged to any other community organizations on/off campus, even in a non-leadership role. Worst case, use your prof if you "have to", but consider other options first IMO.
  8. Anything is "okay". You can submit 3 academic references (research supervisor, graduate supervisor, prof, committee member etc.), or 3 non-academic (volunteer, employment, etc.), or any combination of above. The important thing is that BETWEEN the 3 letters, you are able to cover all of the CANMEDS roles (or UofT clusters). No single LOR needs to speak to every quality, but between all of them, the reader should be able to put together a picture of you as a whole. An employer talking about your grades because you gave them a transcript would be weird, so I would say its not necessary to comment on "academic ability" unless its their direct role with you. As IM posted above, an academic letter doesn't only comment on grades. It can comment on awards/presentations (scholar), it can comment on communication (written, oral), it can talk about teamwork (within your lab, with other labs). This is why letters from just "profs" are often weak. They can only talk about how you did in their course with no further insight. These letters, like anything else you include/exclude from your application, are about judgment. You need to make appropriate choices. As an example, I used my MSc supervisor (academic - talked about research, communication, teamwork), volunteer supervisor (volunteer - talked about leadership, advocacy, communication, teamwork), and work boss (employment - talked about communication, professionalism).
  9. To be honest, none of those things (attendance, asking questions) are very impressive to me, and the A+ in the context of a reference letter is fairly redundant to your transcript, regardless of how the rest of the class did. Furthermore, none of them are criteria for which LORs are given a strong score (particularly based on UofTs scoring sheet) LORs are evaluated on and should focus on CANMEDs roles (leadership, communication, professionalism, etc.). Unless your professor can speak to those qualities with hard examples, I would find someone else. There has to be someone else you've worked with closely in some capacity that can speak to those.
  10. Is this just a professor from a course your took, or have you done any extra work with him? In my experience reviewing LORs, the letters where applicants were simply a student in a lecture/seminar-based course are typically the weakest.
  11. robclem21

    McGill vs U of T Life Sciences

    This has a lot more to do with applicant preferences rather than chances of admission from the medical school. Those who attend UofT likely live close by, have connections and family in the area and therefore want to remain in Toronto, whereas those who live in Quebec are more likely to stay close to home in Montreal. Medical schools don't discriminate based on where you complete your undergraduate degree so go somewhere where you can be happy, do well academically, and have some good social support.
  12. Makes no difference what school you are. They will be able to see everything, but medical schools won't care if you switch programs or schools. Yes, your GPA will count. How they count varies by school as every school has their own GPA calculation policies. However, that goes by year, and not by location. Neither is more advantageous for medicine. Med schools do not care what your major is in. Physiology may give you better prep for MCAT as the mandatory courses will likely be more related, but you can do well on MCAT with any major. Do what you like.
  13. robclem21

    most competitive anesthesiology programs?

    And despite having great programs in some cases, the cities are also very unattractive for many... (i.e. completely unaffordable).
  14. robclem21

    most competitive anesthesiology programs?

    By the time you get to that stage, more people are looking at personal factors (location, family, significant others, affordability, etc.) and less at the actual characteristics of the program. Most programs across Canada are similar and all of them will provide an exceptional training. Everyone has their own reasons for ranking various programs the way they do. All spots were filled after the first iteration this year, and I imagine the overall match statistics should be similar to last year with about 0.7 spots per applicant.